New Investigative Podcast 'Hometown: A Killing' With Award-Winning Journalist Mobeen Azhar
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The series follows what happened when Mobeen moved back to his home town of Huddersfield last year to cover the on-going investigation in to the death of Mohammed Yassar Yaqub.
Mohammed Yassar Yaqub was shot dead by police in January 2017. He was celebrated by his family as a loving son and beloved father. His death provoked protests on the streets of West Yorkshire, but there were also rumours circulating about Yassar Yaqub being a notorious drug dealer.
Mobeen returned to Huddersfield to cover the story for the local paper but he soon realised that there was a much bigger story in town. His reporting led him to cover multiple drug related stabbings and shootings which had occurred on the streets in and around his old neighbourhood. After his reporting was published and a BBC Three series broadcast in June 2019, Mobeen received threats. A conspiracy video made about his private life was also circulated online.
The podcast charts Mobeen’s investigation and is his personal account of what it was like to report on this case as well as the impact of drugs on the place he used to call home. It includes interviews with Yassar Yaqub’s friends and family, local drug dealers and some of Mobeen’s childhood friends.
Mobeen explores masculinity, expectation and shame and how these issues can hinder a much needed conversation about drug dealing and criminality.
Mobeen Azhar says: “I began working back in Huddersfield because this story was something that everyone local had an opinion on. This investigation, and the response to it, was bigger than I ever imagined. What I found out made me ask major questions about where I come from, the drugs trade, criminality, the police, community silence and what we need to do to progress.
"When I broke the story, there were Imams, mothers, former dealers and social workers that got in touch to tell me that they thought an important conversation had started and that this was the start of real change. Then there were the people who would message me online or type in the comments section of my local newspaper who said I'd disgraced my hometown. It struck a real nerve. That meant denial, anger and even death threats.
"This podcast series is the story of the last couple of years of my life. It documents bleak violence and a spiralling investigation. It also tells the story of how that investigation was received and what it meant for me, and my community."
Hometown: A Killing is a Forest production for BBC Sounds.
All episodes of Hometown: A Killing are available to listen to on BBC Sounds now.
Source BBC Sounds
June 24, 2020 5:00am ET by Pressparty